Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Sports

November 6, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Perfect season on the line (w/standings)

Rival Brownsboro looks to give AHS first blemish of the year

Athens — When it comes to preseason goals, every football team hopes to achieve three goals: finish the regular season undefeated, win a district title, and play in the postseason.

The Athens Hornets will face one of its most hated rivals Friday night in the Brownsboro Bears on Senior night at Bruce Field.

Kickoff for the contest is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Athens Hornets have already clinched two of those goals and look for their first perfect regular season in school history.

AHS (9-0 overall, 4-0 in District 15-3A play) clinched its first district championship since 1992 with a 55-20 win over the Mineola Yellowjackets last Friday night at Meredith Memorial Stadium.

“We are looking at this week as another game because it is Brownsboro and it is a rival game,” AHS coach Paul Essary said. “We know that Brownsboro is going to play us better than they have played all year.”

For BHS first-year head coach Jason Hooker, this will be his first opportunity to take part in the rivalry.

“I am looking forward to being a part of that game,” Hooker said. “It is always exciting to be a part of a Friday night rival game in Texas.”

Athens won last year’s meeting by a score of 55-20 at Bear Stadium.

That matchup sent Athens to the postseason and Brownsboro heading to basketball season.

This year, the Bears have dealt with injuries and depth throughout the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Hooker said even with those problems, the 2-7 overall record and 0-4 in district has been tough.

“It would mean a lot for us to get a win in district,” Hooker said. “I think more importantly than what it would do for Athens would be what it will do for our seniors and our kids. We want to send them out on a positive note.”

Essary said the coaching staff is working on a gameplan to stop Brownsboro running back Quintus Lee — who has 84 carries for 442 yards and four touchdowns.

He is also keeping an eye on quarterback Jared Bragdon.

“They have a real good running back that is very quick and he is a concern for us defensively,” Essary said. “We really have to fit well on defense and we are working hard on that. They throw the ball real well as they do it about 50-percent of the time.”

For the Hornets, fans can continue to see strong rushing as sophomore Logan Fuller has already broken a 37-year rushing record with 1,325 yards this season.

Fuller is only three touchdowns away from tying the all-time touchdown record of  Kendall Sanders’ in 2010 with 24 touchdowns.

The Hornets also have another back who could get 1,000 yards this season against Brownsboro.

Junior running back Devin Hall is 72 yards away from the mark as he has 928 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Essary said even with the accomplishments of their running backs, they still have some areas they need to improve on this week.

“Offensively, we need to improve on throwing the football better and defensively we need to work on tackling better,” Essary said. “That is what we have been stressing this week.”

AHS senior quarterback Anthony Sanders is 25-of-58 for 440 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.

Hooker said the emotions will definitely be high for the seniors Friday night.

“Our kids are excited about playing and it will be our last time to play a game of football,” Hooker said. “I think these kids are excited about playing together as a group and it is something we are looking forward to.”

For Essary, he understands the importance of facing their rival.

“These opportunities do not happen all the time. We are looking at a great opportunity to go undefeated and a great opportunity to be undefeated district champions,” Essary said. “I know Brownsboro is looking at it as a chance to knock off the district champions.”

Notes: You can listen to Friday night’s contest on KCKL 95.9 FM, KLVQ 1410 AM and 94.5 FM. The pregame starts at 7:15 p.m.

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